WE ARE: 5 women navigating our twenties in search of peace, happiness and love (or not). WE WRITE: about everything and nothing. From the insane to the mundane- you will find different paths taken, lessons learned and lives lived. WE THINK: you’ll enjoy it...Warning: Consumption of these views may leave you enlightened while intoxicated.


The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot

Friday, February 22, 2008

40 Acres and Some Jewels

I love watching PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. I started watching in undergrad when I lived in the dorm without cable. Saturday mornings were filled with this guy and the antiques roadshow.

So if you’ve never seen the show, here’s a re-cap: people bring what they believe are valuable antiques to be appraised by experts. Sometimes they are pleasantly surprised when they find out they have a treasure. Sometimes they come on the show looking like they are up to their eyeballs in debt and someone said, “hey, let’s take this old lamp to the roadshow that’s comin to town and see how much it’s worth.” Oh they look so sad when they learn the truth: it ain’t worth much.

So basically people acquire their “antiques” two ways. One: They happened to be at someone’s antique store, thrift shop or yard sale and they picked up this curious item at a low, low price. Two: The item has been in the family for generations, something great, great, great ancestor brought with them from the old country or from a foreign trip to the Far East or some other place that seemed exotic in 1722; and the item has been passed on from generation to generation, sometimes with the history or even historical documents accompanying the treasure. Oh the things that people have brought to this show! Jewelry from the original Cartier in France, pottery from the Ming dynasty, art work from renowned painters…

Yeah, so I watch this show and I love this show but it also makes me mad. Why? Cause I never see any Black people on there. That’s right, we don’t have “antiques”. Slavery anyone? We (and obviously I’m making generalizations here) don’t have shit passed from generation to generation since 1762. Except maybe some soul food recipes, grandmama’s thighs and a serious pathology we’re still trying to overcome to this day. All we get passed down to us from our folk is oral history (valuable I know). And now we’re barely getting that. And all we got from our white ancestors was straight hair and lighter skin. And if we do have anything, it’s a kettle that our ancestor cooked on for massa or something massa gave his help after 40 years of service.

Sigh. Yet another reason for reparations. Raises fist in the air and shakes it!

I know that life isn’t fair. I know that we carry a heavy load. I know that I’m stating the obvious by pointing out that slavery left us at a disadvantage (in more serious areas than not having antiques). Besides me hating that slavery robbed us from the possibility of so much and that no one wants to talk about it. Oh just sweep that slavery thing under the rug. Didn’t it happen sooo long ago? Nothing from back then affects y’all today… But like Amaretto & I were talking bout the other day, I hate that the treasures we do have may just be valuable in our community, like an original JET with photos of Emmitt Till's body (shout out to Dark & Stormy's mama) or the tin can of tobacco my mom has that belonged to her favorite uncle who fought in World War I, and provides sentimental value but we wouldn't dare try to take it on the antiques road show. So, we may have things of value, but would they be considered valuable to the mainstream? You know since they decide what's valuable. But that's a post for a whole 'nother day...I also hate that so many of us still don’t have the means to acquire antiques, to have things that are assets and appreciate in value. Sometimes I just look at all that we have and I smile. But then I look at all that we don’t have and I know that we still have such a long way to go.

So, I guess it’s up to me to make sure I get some antiques in the family. I’m thinking I could do this two ways: I could travel to some nice antique shops around the state and could slowly start my collection. Or I could do some research, find my white ancestors, knock on their door, and tell them to let me get one of them vases!

That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

subdividing the races

“There’s two different races, in that race,” explained James Rice, a white resident describing black people, as Mr. Fields affably worked voters at Jack’s. “You got some that don’t want to be nothing, and you got some that want to help. You don’t find too many like James Fields.”
--"Race Matters Less in Politics of South," N.Y. Times, February 21, 2008

it's amazing how one little quote in a New York times article can sum up race relations in America. Rum Punch talked about the idea of transcending race a while back and how difficult it is to really do that in this country. you know how white folks automatically put you in that first category Mr. Rice talks about, "don't want to be nothing" till they have an actual conversation with you and realize that you are a functioning human being who has achieved some shit.

but mint julep, tell me something i don't know....

well i can't really. cause Mr. Rice's (or white folks like him's) thoughts, you shoulda knew already. i know i live it and breathe it. it's like my default setting at first glance from a white person. young Black girl = uneducated, teenage mother, etc., etc. or administrative assistant in my office, or sales associate in macy's. but mint julep, you say, stop exaggerating, all whites don't think that when they see you...

uhhhh ok maybe not that exact picture but the default is always on the bad side cause i can see it in their eyes. i'm tall, i'm dark, and i have "those awful dreadlock thingys" in my head. and i love love love it when some nosey ass white person sits next to me on a plane and wants to chat me up, talkin bout where you headed, what you do, etc. and i drop that bomb on them. oh i'm a lawyer. booo-yow bitches!

but if you black in america and you suprised at Mr. Rice's statements, well you shouldn't be. if you Black in America and you're not mal-adjusted, go get mal-adjusted...find some mal-adjustment, it may save your life. (c) Mos Def. I bet Mr. Rice would be suprised at my views on white folks in America...

“There’s two different races, in that race,” explained Mint Julep, a Black resident describing white people, as Ms. White Woman affably tries to work voters in Texas. “You got some that are racist, whether it be concious or unconcious racism, because they happily benefit from or are unaware of their white privilege, and you got some that want to help non-whites, who they view as unable to help themselves, and in so doing they pat themselves on their nice liberal backs and feel superior. I don't really know if I care for either one.”
-- Mint Julep

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Deja vu

November 07, 2000

The results are slowly coming in . . .

New York -- Albert Gore winner
Texas -- George Walker Bush winner
California -- Albert Gore winner
Tennessee -- George Walker Bush winner
Illinois -- Albert Gore winner
Arizona -- George Bush winner
New Mexico -- Albert Gore winner
Utah -- George Bush winner
Maryland -- Albert Gore winner
Florida -- Albert Gore ??? . . . George Walker Bush ???. . .

"CNN would like to report that Al Gore is the winner."

"Fox News reports that George Walker Bush has won the Sunshine state."

************* Albert Gore . .vs. . George Walker Bush ***************
popular vote --- 50,996,119 . . . . . . . 50,456,169
electoral vote --- 266 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271


Could it happen again?

The Democartic contest for the nomination could see the same scenario.
There is the popular vote and the vote by the superdelegate.

A superdelegate is a muckety-muck of the party (congressman, senators, party charimen, etc.) that casts their vote after the people have cast their own . . .

It's an elitist concept, the logic goes that the sophisticated had to curb the will of the people -- just in case the people get over themselves -- the elites can put them in check.

Barack Obama is winning the popular vote, the most states, but could fall short in the number of superdelegates needed; whereas Hillary Clinton can lose the popular vote, capture the least states, but win the most superdelegates, and continue on to the party's nomination.

things that make you go hmmmm. . .

So, what do you do if deja vu happens twice -- granted I'm not speaking of the national race.

DNC what do you do? What is your position? What are the implications of your decision for party members? Most importantly, how would such a scenario impact the general election? Howard Dean, Chariman of the DNC, claims we will have a nominee before the Denver Convetion. Dean, I'm not sure what leverage you have to make either one of them concede if the numbers are close.
Remember, history has each of their backs!

To Democrats:

If Barack is your candidate -- will you feel slighted if he isn't given the nomination due to superdelegates negating the vote of the people?

If Hillary is your candidate -- will you feel snubbed if superdelegates cast their vote for her, only for the DNC to intervene in the process?

Well, what will you do?



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wanna Come Out to Play?

Watching the telly a couple Saturdays ago I was troubled by a commercial I saw urging children to go outside and play. This WHAT THE HELL moment continued as the commercial instructed children to come to their website for suggestions on what to do outside if they needed an idea. I mean it truly is sad that things have gotten to this point that children are left to Google how to play with each other. I never thought I’d see the day when kids would need to look at an internet printout on how to play hide-n-seek; but then I also never thought I would pay more than a dollar for bottle water or see a black man become president…oh wait, that latter hasn’t happened yet, my bad. But you see where I’m going right? Some of the things we see today were once inconceivable notions we laughed at because they were so unlikely.

I wonder what this next generation is gonna do as they get older. I’m sure every generation wonders about the up and coming one. But I think about my own interactions with folks I’ve met on this life journey who I was able to befriend with similar childhood stories of playing until the street lights came on. Bonds formed as we swapped tales of playing house and doctor or a very naughty edition of hide-n-go get it. What will the next ones bond over, the extent of their
Wii injuries?

I can’t imagine a childhood in front of a television or a computer. Now I will admit that there were times when my parents had to urge me to go outside. There were times when once outside I’d want to come home, to maybe pee or eat and I found the door locked (gives parents a knowing look). But for the most part I had the best time running with the neighborhood kids or even playing by myself in the backyard with my dog. I can’t imagine my memories of neighborhood bicycle races or tag tournaments being replaced by just passing a controller to a friend. I can’t imagine replacing the story about the time I put my head through a patio railing, got suck and my friends rushing to get my dad to come get me out with butter and a prayer-with one about making it to the highest level in a game.

I know most people are concerned with childhood obesity. Like Billy C’s foundation that is a part of the
Alliance for a Healthier Generation that prompted Nickelodeon to shut down for three hours in the past couple of years with the hopes that kids would brave that new world on the other side of their doors. Crazy I know. But I will also say that after the three hour play date the kids can come back inside and watch a program that outlined what other kids had done during that three hours. Progress? I’m shaking my head no. And I guess the real source of my disbelief and outrage is that these kids have no imaginations because we’ve given them virtual realities in hi-def.

I will admit that graphics are much more awesome than when I was coming up. And I won’t get into how excited I was about getting a Sega Genesis! Sonic and Tails anyone? But ain’t it sad when a child can’t see a hairbrush become a microphone or a chair to become a rocket? I’m concerned that the inquiring minds of children are accepting things at face value and not question the possibilities of anything else. Isn’t it tragic these youngins don’t want to explore what’s beyond their neighborhoods…well heck, their own houses?

For me childhood and imagination went hand in hand, like peanut butter and jam, or biscuits and ham. Sorry, I was having a Doctor Seuss rhyming moment, apologizes to all. But Adulthood doesn’t allow the time to pick up a quick game of Mother May I or play around the hood until your mother calls you to come in. Adulthood can be harsh enough without having some of the joys of childhood to think back on. I can imagine a lot of things, but I can’t imagine not having those memories.

See You In Seven.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bulletproof Tears

You ain’t even safe wit a full clip
I swear on the presidents grave
I’m sick of livin’ in this bullshit
We down to take it to the full length
Meet us up on capitol hill, and we can
Get up in some real shit.

- Assassination, dead prez

After yet another horrific school shooting last Thursday, we are once again reminded that we are not safe anywhere. A former student of Northern Illinois University (NIU) opened fire onto a lecture hall full of students at the school, killing six and injuring others, before committing suicide.

It was the fourth shooting at a U.S. school that week.

This school was not your typical "ghetto" neighborhood, ridden with crime and proverty, where gunshots are a part of the daily soundtrack of life. This school was not an innercity school like Mr. Clark's Eastside High or Stand and Deliver's Garfield High School.

NIU has white, middle-class, suburban, SAT/ACT scoring, career driven, law abiding students. So did Columbine. And Virginia Tech. University of Texas, as well.

The worst school massacre in U.S. history, the Bath School disaster of 1927, was orchestrated by a school board member. Most of the victims were school aged children.

** Hanging my head in sorrow. **

What is my point? That violence has no face. It is widespread. Universal. We are all affected by it. Despite our media's insistence on focusing on a certain group of people [who mostly resemble me] it is undeniable that since the beginning of time the majority of these perpetrators of violence are men. And mostly white men.

I prefer not to discuss the right to bear arms and gun control laws today. Instead I want to focus on metal detectors. Metal detectors are very effective when used properly. You cannot board an airplane without going through them. I am greeted with them when attending major sporting events and music concerts. Many public schools around the country have them, especially in high schools.

So why aren't there metal detectors installed in colleges and universities?

While I find it sad that we have been forced to consider such extreme measures, what other choices do we have? Like my boys dead prez said, you ain't even safe with a full clip these days. For those who wish to carry their heat, cool. But I think that we need to be a lot more vigilant about making sure they check that sh*t at the door upon entry.

Our children are at war with us. How in the hell did this happen?

Tumultuously Yours,

Dark & Stormy